Niagara Gazette

March 7, 2013

HAMILTON: Gun buybacks -- not as dumb as I thought

By Ken Hamilton
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — You can absolutely disagree with someone, and both of you can still be absolutely right. That depends, of course, that each person sees different sides of the same argument. Take the ridiculous gun buy-back programs that politicians and the police departments have. If you listen to me on many Tuesdays with Sandy Beach and Company on WBEN 930AM/107.7FM, you will hear us talk about how ridiculous these photo-op politicians are in their belief that criminals are going to turn in their guns, find the Lord and change their lives as a result of them. And we are absolutely right! They ain’t gonna do it. That’s my argument, and I am sticking to it. However, I have long said that how you come out of an argument is largely contingent upon where you entered it – and most of the time, we enter an argument from where we are and through the things that we sense. Sometimes, our objections to the participants actually colors and clouds the objective issues of what is actually happening, Upon my realization that I was doing such, I have to change a large part of my argument about these buy-back programs. I admit it. With more perfect information, I am willing to take a more perfect view of anything; and here’s why. I was at a gun buy-back program sponsored by Niagara Falls’ MADD DADDS and the police department. I was impressed with the quantity, quality and types of firearms that people turned in. I was particularly impressed with a very nice .38 that someone surrendered and it was still in the packaging. Impressive, yes! But change-your-mind-about-gun-buyback-programs impressive — no. What impressed me into rethinking my position about the program was those who were turning in their weapons. Some of those citizens reminded me of footage that I saw on the television news late last year. Video from a neighbor’s security camera in Buffalo caught two young thugs breaking in the home of a senior who was well into his 90s. What could a 90-year-old man have in his house that would make someone go through the trouble of a break-in, such as those men did? Then, at the gun buy-back program in Niagara Falls, I saw some pretty senior people turning in their weapons. It then I hit me. Even though the cops had been saying it all along, I only saw things from my own middle-aged perspective, and through that proverbial and oft overused exclamation of, “If it was me, then I would …” Well, it ain’t me; it was them – those who either could no longer safely operate, or properly and securely store a weapon. It was easy for me to surmise that most of those who turned in a weapon would probably be better off without one. In thus doing, it made society better off, too, because no one could steal it from them. I asked one MADD DADD why people would want to turn in those weapons. He said, with delight, “It makes them feel good.” I can agree that there is some merit to gun buy-back programs. It is good that those who cannot properly operate and secure a weapon making both society and themselves safer by surrendering them. However, I am sticking by my guns in that criminals are not surrendering their weapons and that those citizens who are traditionally law-abiding and of sound enough body and mind to safely operate and store a weapon ought not have their rights infringed upon by photo-op politicians who need not to be involved in the process. Without indicting anyone, I think that it is better that police agencies and community groups exclusively operate these events. It would be in the best interest that politicians, who actually stand in front of such issues and often block others from seeing the mind-changing side of the issue that I saw in such programs. In so doing, the best results are likely follow, along with the most support that can be had by those in the media who can turn actually public policy. Gun buy-back programs are not as dumb as I thought, and nor am I. How about you? Can you amend your views upon a second thought?

Contact Ken Hamilton at kenhamilton930@aol.com.